Cholangiocytes, the epithelial cells lining bile ducts, provide the first line of defense against lumenal microbes in the biliary system. Recent advances in biliary immunity indicate that cholangiocytes express a variety of pathogen-recognition receptors and can activate a set of intracellular signaling cascades to initiate a profound antimicrobial defense, including release of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines, production of antimicrobial peptides and maintenance of biliary epithelial integrity. Cholangiocytes also interact with other cell types in the liver (for example, lymphocytes and Kupffer cells) through expression and release of adhesion molecules and immune mediators. Subsequently, through an intricate feedback mechanism involving both epithelial and other liver cells, a set of intracellular signaling pathways are activated to regulate the functional state of cholangiocyte responses during microbial infection. Thus, cholangiocytes are actively involved in mucosal immunity of the biliary system and represent a fine-tuned, integral component of liver immunity.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy
- Cell Biology